Julio Dalla Costa

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Understanding and applying incremental lease borrowing rate analyses under ASC 842

Tue, Jul 17, 2018 @ 04:57 AM / by Julio Dalla Costa posted in Leasing-Hot-Tips, leasing, ASC 842, SAPLeaseAdmin


LeaseAdministration-HotTipIn February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2016-02 ( “ASC 842”), Leases, which provides new guidelines that change the accounting for leasing arrangements.

Background on ASC 842

The new leasing standard becomes effective in fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, including interim periods within those fiscal years, for: • Public business entities • Not-for-profit entities that have issued (or are a conduit bond obligator for) securities that are traded, listed, or quoted on an exchange or an over-the-counter market• Employee benefit plans that file financial statements with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

For all other entities, it becomes effective in fiscal years beginning after  December 15, 2019, and interim periods in fiscal years beginning after  December 15, 2020. Early adoption is permitted at any time for all entities.

The primary purpose of the standard is to address the current accounting treatment of operating leases which are deemed to be off balance sheet financing arrangements and are only disclosed via a company’s financial footnotes in the “Commitments and Contingencies” footnote. Upon the adoption of ASC 842, Therefore, for every identified lease, companies will be required to create a lease liability calculated as the present value of the future fixed payments and a corresponding asset (“right of use” asset). The right of use asset will be amortized over the life of the lease.

The income statement will be impacted by a straight-line lease expense item that would essentially contain an interest component with the amortization of the asset being the plug-in order to achieve straight line lease expense over the life of the lease. One of the key challenges of adopting the new standard will be for companies to assess and apply the incremental borrowing rate applicable to them which will be used in the present value calculations for the capitalization of lease liability and right of use assets related to leases.

Incremental Borrowing Rate

ASC 842 defines “incremental borrowing rate” as: The rate of interest that a lessee would have to pay to borrow on a collateralized basis over a similar term an amount equal to the lease payments in a similar economic environment.

ASC842 Incremental Borrowing Rate Bramasol tuesday-tip-17JULYCollateralized basis

The definition of “incremental borrowing rate” in ASC 842 represents a change from how that term was defined under ASC 840. The definition under ASC 842 makes it clear that the lessee is required to assess the rate as a secured rate. Under ASC 840, a lessee was to determine a rate that was “consistent with the financing that would have been used in the particular circumstances,” which could have resulted in the lessee using an unsecured borrowing rate.

Accordingly, if a lessee used an unsecured rate to determine lease classification under ASC 840, the adoption of ASC 842 should result in it utilizing a lower discount rate for determining whether the lease qualifies as an operating lease. When combined with other changes from ASC 840, there is a greater chance that leases classified as operating leases under ASC 840 will be finance leases under ASC 842.

Similar term

In determining the incremental borrowing rate, a “one size fits all” will not be sufficient to be compliant with the new standard. Therefore, companies will need to determine the incremental borrowing rate by average lease terms. For example, the incremental borrowing rate applied to a twenty-year lease should not be the same as the rate applied to a three-year vehicle lease.

Similar economic environment

Many companies have asked whether it is possible to use the Company’s corporate cost of capital borrowing rate which is usually is at the company’s headquarters. As noted in the guidance, the incremental borrowing rate will have to applied to similar economic environments so wherein companies have corporate debt at the US headquarters they will be forced to assess and document the differences in rates in different economic environments such as in countries such as China, Brazil, Argentina and some countries in Africa where the economic environments are vastly different than in the Unites States.

Incremental borrowing rate at date of adoption

The incremental borrowing rate should be applied at the date of adoption which for public companies will at 1/1/2019. Companies should start to assess the incremental borrowing rates as early as possible and then update as needed for any changes to the terms and economic environments throughout 2018 so at 1/1/19, there is a clear and precise documentation of the methods used and assumptions made for the various rates.

Private company’s considerations

Because of the difficulty of determining the incremental borrowing rate, ASC 842 also provides a practical expedient to private companies by allowing those reporting entities to use a risk-free rate to determine lease classification. While the risk-free rate is certainly easier to determine than the incremental borrowing rate, the use of the risk-free rate could result in more leases qualifying as finance leases because the present value of the lease payments determined using the risk-free rate will be greater than the present value determined using the incremental borrowing rate. Accordingly, private company lessees will need to carefully consider the implications if they elect to use the risk-free rate.


As companies start assessing the adoption and implementation, careful consideration of the incremental borrowing will need to perform because of the challenges in the new definition of the incremental borrowing rate under ASC 842. Companies should start having meaningful conversations with their respective treasury departments to determine the various rates that will need to be applied on 1/1/19.


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ASC 842: FASB provides an additional optional transition relief for companies

Tue, May 22, 2018 @ 03:19 AM / by Julio Dalla Costa posted in Leasing-Hot-Tips, FASB, ASC842, SAPLeaseAdmin, leasing


LeaseAdministration-HotTipOn January 5th, 2018, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) proposed adding an optional transition method and another practical expedient for lessors to Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) 842, Leases, to reduce the cost and complexity of implementing the new standard.

With the proposed transition option, the FASB is responding to concerns raised by entities, particularly those that plan to implement new systems to comply with the guidance. These entities said that the current requirement to apply the new leases standard to the comparative periods presented in the year of adoption would be more costly and complex for them to implement than the FASB initially anticipated. 


On March 7, 2018, the FASB approved the changes to the comparative reporting transition guidance, providing an optional transition method when adopting Topic 842.

So, what does this mean?

For many companies who recently implemented ASC 606 and used the modified retrospective approach had to recast their financial statements to the earliest periods presented. This meant that they had to go back two years to the earliest reporting period presented and incorporate the changes into the transition entry to retained earnings as the date of implementation.

At its November 29 meeting, the FASB proposed allowing entities the option to instead apply the provisions of the new leases guidance at the effective date (e.g., January 1, 2019), without adjusting the comparative periods presented. In the case of the adoption of ASC 842, if companies were to adopt on 1/1/2019, that means that companies would have to recast fiscal years 2017 and 2018 for the adoption of ASC 842.

For example, a calendar-year entity that adopts the standard on 1 January 2019 and presents two years of comparative financial statements applies the transition provisions on 1 January 2017 (i.e., the beginning of the earliest comparative period presented). Under the proposed transition method, the entity would apply the transition provisions on 1 January 2019 (i.e., the effective date).

Under the proposed new method for transition, companies will be allowed to continue using and presenting operating leasing under ASC 840 and then prospectively adopt ASC 842 on 1/1/2019. The proposal could simplify transition to the new guidance. For example, a lessee would not have to measure and recognize leases that expired prior to the effective date or consider the effects of each modification for leases that were modified more than once during the comparative period presented. Under the proposed transition method, entities could opt to continue to apply the legacy guidance in ASC 840, Leases, including its disclosure requirements, in the comparative periods presented in the year they adopt the new leases standard.

Entities that elect this option would still adopt the new leases standard using a modified retrospective transition method, but they would recognize a cumulative-effect adjustment to the opening balance of retained earnings in the period of adoption rather than in the earliest period presented. Entities would still be required to apply different recognition and measurement requirements in the post-adoption period to leases they entered before adoption and those they enter after adoption.

Group of three practical expedients

In addition to the optional relief proposed by the FASB, there was already the “group of three” practical expedients that was previously proposed and approved. The practical expedients apply to all leases in place at the time of transition. However, the practical expedients must be applied as a package.

The practical expedients are:

  • An entity need not reassess whether any expired or existing contracts are or contain leases.
  • An entity need not reassess the lease classification for any expired or existing leases (that is, all existing leases that were classified as operating leases in accordance with Topic 840 will be classified as operating leases, and all existing leases that were classified as capital leases in accordance with Topic 840 will be classified as finance leases).
  • An entity need not reassess initial direct costs for any existing leases.


In addition, the standard provides this practical expedient which may be elected separately from the above:

An entity also may elect a practical expedient, which must be applied consistently by an entity to all its leases (including those for which the entity is a lessee or a lessor) to use hindsight in determining the lease term (that is, when considering lessee options to extend or terminate the lease and to purchase the underlying asset) and in assessing impairment of the entity’s right-of-use assets. This practical expedient may be elected separately or in conjunction with the practical expedients noted above.


By the additional optional transition method as well as the practical expedients, companies are being provided with significant relief for the adoption of ASC 842. However, companies that rely extensively on leases for operating assets, the transition is likely to be labor intensive even when applying the practical expedients.


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